'TED' (R) (3 STARS)
Written by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley
Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Seth McFarlane, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Stewart, Joel McHale, Patrick Warburton
What a surprise "Ted" is for I expected funny in part because the trailer was hilarious but I didn't expect heart. I didn't expect a sweet story of friendship and love in a movie involving a wisecracking, vulgar bear! "Ted" is a very funny movie and a very clever one. It loses it's way in the middle but the first hour has more laughs than a slew of full movie comedies this year. I also loved that the movie brought back a movie that I loved as a child in the early 80's.
The movie's lead character John, as a boy, wishes that he could get a bear for a Christmas present and then wishes it could talk. Well the movie Gods shine on John and the bear starts to talk freaking out John's parents in a very funny scene. John and Ted grow up together in a very funny montage and when we see them as adults Ted is taking a few hits from a bong. This is the opening and extremely funny start of the movie that had me laughing out loud constantly. John is dating Lori, played by the sweet and beautiful Mila Kunis. John can't commit to Lori because, well you understand a 35 year old with a teddy bear as a best friend might have trouble committing to adult responsibilities.
Then the movie rips along with many funny jokes and scenes with the requisite misses you expect from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane and some politically incorrect stuff that doesn't work. Though what I love most about "Ted" is that the movie is not afraid to make the bear a jerk who is vulgar. He just doesn't care who he offends because why should a bear care what people think about him. Lori wants Ted to move out so she can start a new life with John, maybe marriage. John gets Ted a job and in one of the best running jokes of the movie Ted says all kinds of outrageous things to his boss but he keeps getting promoted instead of fired.
There is a lot of vulgar comedy in this movie and the story really works because of one actor and one other thing. First of all Mark Wahlberg again shows us how good he is at comedy and his reactions to a CGI bear is perfection. I think we forget how good a comic actor Wahlberg is. Another thing is the facial reactions of the bear to the stuff that happens to him is funny in itself. I actually laughed at Ted's facial reactions and Wahlberg's reactions to Ted more than the jokes. Mila Kunis is also a delight and I can never take my eyes off of her. She is beautiful and so sweet, good at comedy and I would even watch her read a phone book for two hours.
On top of some big laughs, good acting and a very funny teddy bear I also got a gift from this movie. The movie lovingly pokes fun at one of my favorite movies of the 80's, the so bad it's good movie, "Flash Gordon" from 1980. Ted and John love this movie and I know why and I love the movie so I appreciated their idolatry of it. The movie brings the star from that movie Sam Jones whose high pitched voice in Flash now sounds like it has had a few drinks. There is a very funny scene where Ted has a party and invites John who meets Jones in a very funny scene.
I also was happy that the movie is not all jokes and that it has a heart. I truly believed that John and Ted loved each other and I believed that their friendship was strong. There is a sweet and touching ending to this movie so the movie will make you laugh and feel something too and that is something I never would expect. I loved all the characters and the heart of the movie is John and Ted's strange love for each other. "Ted" made me laugh a lot and it should make you laugh and actually feel really happy when you walk out of the theatre like it did for me.